Watch a Pack of 30+ Wild Dogs Quickly Be Reminded Elephant Isn’t On Their Menu

Having Trouble Watching? Unfortunately sometimes creators disable or remove their video after we publish. Try to Watch on YouTube

Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 9, 2023

Share on:

Continue reading for our analysis...

Wild dogs hunting. Aka African painted dogs, painted wolves, African hunting dogs. Picture taken as the dogs hunt in a pack. A game reserve situated in the North West Province of South Africa. wildlife predator carnivores wild animals endangered species pack hunter south africa african painted dogs wildlife animals painted wolves endangered animals african hunting dogs wild dogs
© charles Hopkins/

Surely this pack of wild dogs did not think that they could take on a bull elephant! They manage to get quite close but then the elephant makes it quite clear that he has had enough. With a loud trumpet he charges at them and they scatter.

Click below to watch the full video of this extraordinary encounter.

What Do African Wild Dogs Normally Eat?

Types of Wild Dogs

African wild dogs are known to prey on animals that are significantly larger than they are, such as antelope and zebra.

© Prosicky

African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are the largest canid in Africa and are an endangered species. Their range has significantly reduced but they are still found in some sub-Saharan African countries including Botswana, Kenya, and Mozambique.

They are carnivorous pack predators and will have a go at most mammals. For smaller kills, they target rodents, lizards, birds, and insects. However, they also work together to hunt much larger animals including warthogs, antelope, and wildebeest. They work as a team to corner prey. If possible, they target young, old, sick, or injured animals as this gives them the best chance of success.

The elephant in this clip was none of those things! It is unlikely that this was a serious attempt at hunting.

Elephants Getting Irritated by Wild Dogs

elephant close up in a field

African wild dogs could not normally bring down a healthy bull elephant.

©David Steele/

This is not the only example of elephants getting pretty irritated by the presence of wild dog packs. Elephants are very protective of their young and mother elephants can be very unhappy about wild dogs hanging around near their calves. It is common for them to drive wild dogs from the area.

In this clip, the wild dogs get close enough to annoy the elephant before darting away without getting hurt. It does not help that the bull elephant is in musth when elephants are naturally more aggressive.

In another report, some African wild dogs seem to taunt some elephants just for entertainment!

How Big Do Wild Dogs Get?

wild dogs

African wild dogs are known to prey on animals that are significantly larger than they are, such as antelope and zebra.


African wild dogs typically weigh between 40 to 79 pounds, with males a bit heavier than females. They measure around 30 to 43 inches in length and stand about 24 to 30 inches tall at the shoulder, with females being slightly larger.

The biggest wild dog from the Ice Age was the North American dire wolf (Aenocyon dirus), which was as tall as 2 feet and 6 inches at the shoulder and weighed around 150 pounds.

Nowadays, the largest living wild dog, the modern wolf (Canis lupus), weighs 99 pounds max, which is less than the dire wolf.

What is Elephant Musth?

Musth is a natural periodic condition in male elephants that leads to testosterone levels surging up to six times their normal levels.

©Prasanth Aravindakshan/

Musth is a natural periodic condition that male elephants experience. At this time, testosterone levels can be six times their normal levels. It lasts for two or three months and during it, the elephants can be quite aggressive.

It is thought that musth may help elephants to get rid of other bulls from their territory or give weaker bulls the strength to gain dominance!

Share this post on:
About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.